Day 3: Snowdrops

I discovered today that I prefer battling nettles and following their long roots across the earth’s surface to actually planting bulbs. Even snowdrops. It worries me that I prefer destruction, but of course I was happy to do both.

God, I am tired. This physical work every day is no joke even though it hasn’t felt too much at any one point and I have enjoyed it immensely. I honestly almost took a nap this afternoon, wishing I could sleep through dinner and right through until tomorrow morning. I nodded off through a book and dinner was amazing.

Every meal is amazing, the best thing about hard work.

Today I worked clearing out a lovely old overgrown herb bed, now nettles and primroses and masses of snowdrops that needed rescuing. I love snowdrops, I remember the days I just went to other people’s gardens to stare at them. The RHS on snowdrops:

Plant freshly-lifted snowdrops when the foliage is just dying back in late spring. If it is not possible to plant in late spring, buying just after flowering when the leaves are still green, (‘in the green’) is the next best way of establishing snowdrops.

I dug out bulbs and green leaves and replanted them in the bank I’ve been weeding the past two days. Still not done. The snowdrops have already flowered of course, before my arrival, so the picture you see here is from a previous snowdrop extravaganza.

It does prove that you should establish snowdrops, they are so lovely. One of the things I love most about this farm is the extra effort taken to brighten the lane alongside us, and to leave this place more beautiful than when they found it. Practical willow and bulbs upon bulbs, so lovely.

Snowdrops…They work their way down and down into the soil helped by the actions of worms, their bulbs were so much deeper than I expected. They had worked their way into crevices and under the edges of the wall’s stones. In places they clustered in great and beautifully-removable clumps, in others I found lone bulbs choked by nettles.

Nettles are truly amazing, and digging them out along with the bulbs I have begun to plot the rest of this novel I have started that is going nowhere fast. I thought gardening might work to shake things loose and it has, though I wasn’t able to stay awake last night to think about things the way I need to. Tonight isn’t looking much more likely.

The middle of the day involved a beautiful drive through countryside, a stop at the most wonderful roadside stopover I have ever seen, run by farmers and containing a farm store where we dropped off juice and stayed for cake that tasted just as good as it looks.

A special goal in my life is to seek out places that sell cake that tastes as good as it looks. I find most cake disappointing, and how heartbreaking is that?

We had a quick run around Stroud, a wonderful old industrial town I hope to get back to, and picked up another new wwoofer and her son just arrived from Japan.

A good day, and I learned the best trick for helping a fire get going that I have ever seen…and a complete aside, BBC2 radio has had a programme on country music on that played some songs from the latest Mary Chapin Carpenter album along along with Loretta Lynn, the Steeldrivers and even 6 Days on the Road (though unaccountably no Johnny Cash and no East Bound and Down). They are now playing PYT by Michael Jackson, and suddenly Arizona doesn’t seem so far away.

I’ll end with snowdrops as I started. From wikipedia — this amazing description of leaves and new words. I love the idea of explicative leaves.

An important feature which helps to distinguish between species (and to help to determine the parentage of hybrids) is their “vernation” (the arrangement of the emerging leaves relative to each other). This can be “applanate”, “supervolute” or “explicative”. In applanate vernation the two leaf blades are pressed flat to each other within the bud and as they emerge; explicative leaves are also pressed flat against each other, but the edges of the leaves are folded back or sometimes rolled; in supervolute plants one leaf is tightly clasped around the other within the bud and generally remains at the point where the leaves emerge from the soil.[4]

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